Commentary Magazine


Topic: criminal-justice model for conducting the war against Islamic fundamentalists

Vindication in Just a Year

The Obami have certainly been successful in creating consensus in the country regarding how to handle terrorists. It just isn’t the one they had in mind when they set out to vilify their predecessors and unleash the lefty lawyers in the Justice Department to revert to a criminal-justice model for conducting the war against Islamic fundamentalists. Rasmussen reports that: “44% of U.S. voters say the trials of all suspected terrorists linked to 9/11 should be held at Guantanamo Bay.” Even more noteworthy is the degree to which the Obami have also popularized the Bush administration’s judgment that military tribunals are the appropriate forum for trying terrorists:

Voters believe much more strongly that Guantanamo Bay prisoners should be tried in a military tribunal rather than a civilian court. Sixty-seven percent (67%) favor the military tribunal route, and just 15% are opposed. But 18% aren’t sure. This sentiment appears to have grown even stronger. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Americans favored military tribunals in July 2008, as the first such tribunal got under way at Guantanamo.

Conservatives owe the Obama team a debt of gratitude, it would seem. Until the public could see the alternative to Bush policies played out before their eyes, they did not fully appreciate just how rational were the choices made by those charged with keeping the country safe in the months and years following 9/11. It is all the more remarkable that the Bush team got it right on the big calls, considering that, unlike the Obami, they did not have any recent experience to guide them. They relied on common sense, on historical precedent, and on the conviction that the highest priorities were to protect the public and deny any advantage to our enemy, not curry favor with international opinion. They have been vindicated in that judgment by none other than the moral preeners who ran for office on the specious argument that the Bush team had betrayed American values and actually made us less safe. Nothing could be further from the truth. It has taken a mere year for two thirds of the public to agree.

The Obami have certainly been successful in creating consensus in the country regarding how to handle terrorists. It just isn’t the one they had in mind when they set out to vilify their predecessors and unleash the lefty lawyers in the Justice Department to revert to a criminal-justice model for conducting the war against Islamic fundamentalists. Rasmussen reports that: “44% of U.S. voters say the trials of all suspected terrorists linked to 9/11 should be held at Guantanamo Bay.” Even more noteworthy is the degree to which the Obami have also popularized the Bush administration’s judgment that military tribunals are the appropriate forum for trying terrorists:

Voters believe much more strongly that Guantanamo Bay prisoners should be tried in a military tribunal rather than a civilian court. Sixty-seven percent (67%) favor the military tribunal route, and just 15% are opposed. But 18% aren’t sure. This sentiment appears to have grown even stronger. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Americans favored military tribunals in July 2008, as the first such tribunal got under way at Guantanamo.

Conservatives owe the Obama team a debt of gratitude, it would seem. Until the public could see the alternative to Bush policies played out before their eyes, they did not fully appreciate just how rational were the choices made by those charged with keeping the country safe in the months and years following 9/11. It is all the more remarkable that the Bush team got it right on the big calls, considering that, unlike the Obami, they did not have any recent experience to guide them. They relied on common sense, on historical precedent, and on the conviction that the highest priorities were to protect the public and deny any advantage to our enemy, not curry favor with international opinion. They have been vindicated in that judgment by none other than the moral preeners who ran for office on the specious argument that the Bush team had betrayed American values and actually made us less safe. Nothing could be further from the truth. It has taken a mere year for two thirds of the public to agree.

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